The Sunday talk shows turn their attention to President Barack Obama’s plan to curtail part of the data collection by the National Security Agency. Plus, with the enrollment deadline for Obamacare more or less coming this Monday, the talkers train their sights on the Affordable Care Act. And now that Russia is out of the G-8, making it the G-7, the question is, what’s next in the conflict in Ukraine.
In between his meetings with European leaders, Obama unveiled what he would like to do about NSA spying. He said the agency should stop holding time, duration and other information on millions of phone calls, but he said nothing about clamping down on the NSA efforts to track communications over the web.
CNN’s State of the Union brings in Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to talk about this. Obama has put the ball in congress’s court to follow through on his proposals.Feinstein has stood by Obama as he’s taken heat for the NSA practices. These programs began under the George W. Bush administration but have continued under Obama and in fact, he will extend them in 90-day increments until Congress acts. Separately, Feinstein has accused the CIA of nosing around in the files of Senate staffers. Expect a bit on that.
CBS’s Face the Nation also considers NSA policies with former director Michael Hayden, and former deputy CIA director Michael Morell. NBC’s Meet the Press has an interview with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a senator who has pressed for reform for some time, and Michael Leiter, former Head of the National Counterterrorism Center.
On Ukraine, Russia clearly has been able to move faster than the United States and its European allies. The Crimean peninsula is now, after a gap of six decades, once again part of Russia. The West has been trying to isolate Russia. First, the collective of leading industrialized nations known as the G-8 kicked Russia off the team. Then the International Monetary Fund said at least $14 billion in loans were headed Ukraine’s way. But at the end of the day, the peninsula is still Russian territory. CBS, CNN and NBC will be batting this around.
Fox News Sunday gives the Affordable Care Act top billing. A group of six Democratic senators have suggested some tweaks to Obamacare. Their ideas include adding a cheaper, higher deductible option to the Obamacare menu of insurance plans. Sen. Angus King, Ind.-Maine, helped craft the plan. He and Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., will debate the law and the efforts to change it.
There’s a report out of New Jersey on Gov. Chris Christie and political pressure tactics by his aides that shut down lanes to the George Washington Bridge. Meet the Press goes at this with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and New Jersey Sen. Loretta Weinberg, D-Teaneck. Don’t be shocked if you hear some words about Giuliani’s connection to the report. A former deputy of his was the lead investigator.
We expect that the pundits on several of the shows will assess the status of Christie’s political health.
Who’s talking where
CNN State of the Union: Bill Burton, former Obama deputy White House press secretary; Kevin Madden, Republican strategist; Darlene Superville, Associated Press White House reporter
CBS Face the Nation: David Gergen, former White House adviser; David Ignatius, Washington Post; Gwen Ifill, PBS NewsHour; Carolyn Ryan, New York Times.
Fox News Sunday: Karl Rove, Republican strategist; Ron Fournier, political columnist, National Journal,; Kimberley Strassel, Wall Street Journal editorial board; Charles Lane, Washington Post editorial writer.
ABC This Week: Donna Brazile, Democratic strategist; Matthew Dowd, ABC News political analyst;Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard; David Plouffe, former Obama White House adviser.
NBC Meet the Press: Rick Santorum, former Republican senator from Pennsylvania; Peter Baker, New York Times White House correspondent; Amy Walter, Cook Political Report national editor; Svante Myrick, Mayor of Ithaca, N.Y.
Information provided by CNN, CBS, ABC and FOX.